A sign marks the entrance to a gender neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., in 2007. (Toby Talbot/AP)

A federal judge has denied a transgender teenager’s request to allow him to use the same bathroom as his peers at his public school in Virginia.

Instead, the judge ruled Friday, the teenager must continue using a separate, private bathroom that he has said makes him feel “singled out and humiliated.”

Gavin Grimm, a teenage boy who was born female, used the boys’ bathroom for seven weeks with no problem, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought a lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board on his behalf.

But then parents heard about the teen using the boys’ restroom and complained. The school board passed a rule, 6 to 1, that restricts the bathrooms to students of the “corresponding biological genders.”

Grimm and the ACLU challenged the school board policy, and the U.S. Justice Department weighed in in Grimm’s favor.

“Singling out transgender students and subjecting them to differential treatment can also make them more vulnerable to bullying and harassment, a problem that transgender students already face,” the Justice Department wrote. “Allowing transgender students to use the restrooms consistent with their gender identity will help prevent stigma that results in bullying and harassment and will ensure that the District fosters a safe and supportive learning environment for all students, a result that is unquestionably in the public interest.”

But on Friday, Judge Robert G. Doumar of the Eastern District of Virginia denied Grimm’s request for a preliminary injunction, which would have allowed him to use the boys’ bathroom upon returning to school.

“We are deeply disappointed with the court’s decision and will appeal as quickly as possible to ensure that Gavin does not have to endure this harmful and stigmatizing policy a single day more than necessary,” ACLU attorney Joshua Block said in a statement.

In the ACLU statement, Grimm said: “It is difficult to face another school year of being singled out and treated differently from other students. I am determined to move forward because this case is not just about me, but about all transgender students in Virginia,”


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